1961 Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog

What a joy it was when the mailman brought the new Christmas catalogs! My parents bought from both Sears and Montgomery Ward. Spiegel’s was for sophisticated people like my sister-in-law. We certainly didn’t have one at our house. And we never had one from Penny’s, but that may’ve been because the nearest Penny’s was only about 5 or 6 miles from our house – I think it was at Sheridan Village Shopping Center in Tulsa. Alas, Sheridan Village has gone the way of so many other familiar places in Tulsa. Just gone.

It must’ve been about September or October when the Christmas catalog arrived. Plenty of time to ooh and ahh over the treasures and decided what was best, and plenty of time to change my mind before December.

Aluminum trees were just the most modern thing. We didn’t have one, and that was okay because I have wonderfully fond memories of how our fresh cut trees smelled. (In fact, just writing this gives me that memory fragrance). I’m not sure what kind of trees they were; I haven’t seen that kind for sale for a long time. Probably like the one they had in A Christmas Story.

But I liked the aluminum ones then and now. My friend Donna Bull (Donna with all the Barbie family and the fantastic collection of paper dolls) had one at her house and I loved to watch the color wheel turn and reflect on the blue glass ornaments.

Clothes were so much prettier, then.

Stockings, not pantyhose. Nice ones came in boxes at department stores. Cheap ones were sold in packets at the grocery or dime store. Yes, they really did have a lot of stuff for a dime. Not just candy but also toys like jacks and balls and a lot of other stuff. A dime was what you got from the store when you returned 5 pop bottles.

Handkerchiefs were what one bought for a man if you didn’t know what else to buy or you didn’t have enough money for something like cuff links. All men carried handkerchiefs. So did all the ladies I knew. My mother even made sure that I had my own.

I didn’t have one of the metal dollhouses like these, but think that this was like the one Donna had: B. – the 6 room suburban style with sun deck. There’s one like it on ebay for $68.00 (without all the plastic furniture and dolls or one with everything for $139.00.)

(If you click on the page, a larger image will load and you can see the prices and descriptions better.)
Clock radios were a real luxury. Updated to 2009 prices, these would cost about $229.50. It was about this time that my parents got their first one and it looked a lot like the one in the picture.

For more information about 1961, click here.

It was a very good year.


Filed under 1960's, Childhood pastimes, Christmas, Ephemera, Fashion, Fun, Vintage catalogs

7 responses to “1961 Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog

  1. I miss Montgomery Ward. I remember when they announced bankruptcy (early 2000?), I was so upset. It was like closing the door on something that epitomized my childhood…curling up with the Sears Wishbook or the MW catalog, dreaming and dreaming some more of what Santa might bring.

    • I feel the same way. The southwest distribution center for Montgomery Ward was in Fort Worth. After the stores closed, they revamped the building and I think it’s apartments now. Sears worries me. I don’t want them to go under, too.

      Your comment was thoughtful and insightful.

  2. Rick

    My mom still gets a kick just thinking of how many hours I mulled over that Christmas catalog trying to dwindle down my list for Santa. I’m dying to get a hold of a paper copy myself.

    • I remember the anticipation and thrill I got when the new catalog arrived in our mailbox each season. And of course, the Christmas catalog was the best. Looking over the pages and pages of toys, I’d ask myself, “If I could have anything from this page, what would it be?”

      A few of my catalogs are from the antique mall and the oldest Christmas one is from a doll store. But most of them are from ebay. Antique mall prices vary from $5.00 up (and there aren’t many at that price). If you find one on ebay that you like, don’t stop with the first one – keep searching because I’ve seen a catalog listed as starting at about $25.00, then several listings below find the exact same one for around $8.00. But watch those shipping prices before you bid. Some of them are atrocious!

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. alessandra

    I’m Italian, from Rome, but I simply adore American vintage department store catalogues. Today in my search i found your blog and I’m really happy. I’ll go on following you…
    A hug from faraway

    • Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Alessandra.

      I can still remember the excitement when a new catalog would arrive in our mailbox. Over the years, I’ve collected a few and have been quite happy to share some of the pages here.

      Now that autumn is here, I plan on sharing some of the back-to-school clothes from them.

      I appreciate your kind comment!

  4. Pingback: ModCloth Blog » Blog Archive » Vintage Sexism: The Right Kind of Inspiration

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